A Simple Quiz
Raise your hand if you know the answer to the question above. Do you think you have the best answer? What makes web design great?
Ok, now that you look a bit crazy sitting in front of your phone/laptop/digital connection medium of choice with your arm raised, let’s explore some potential answers. There are some good ones.
Is the most important element that a website is up to today’s design standards? Not exactly. While this is helpful and even dare I say “essential”, it certainly is not as critical as what I am about to reveal. A design should definitely not look like it belongs in the 1990’s, and for the purposes of a website experience, and even for appearing on Google, needs to be mobile-responsive.
Ok – how about that the website’s colors are harmonious, in sync and use complimentary color palettes? My apologies to our friends at Colourlovers, but this isn’t the most critical element.
Sure, both of these answers are important but neither is the most important element of web design. So then, what is the answer?
Good Website Design Solves Problems
It really is that simple.
If you own a website, it should solve a problem. Even if yours has no other reason for existence than to showcase hundreds of images of your Golden Retriever, Misty. The problem that needs solving in this case is how to showcase your dog to the world. I would argue that there are better methods to solving this “problem” than by building a dedicated website for Misty, but I digress.
To repeat: The purpose of a business website is to solve a business problem you have.
The vast majority of the time, this problem centers around cashflow/making money/earning a living or a similar goal. The website’s purpose then will be to attract customers, to buy your products, or for portfolio websites to attain credibility within your field.
An effective website design works to help solve this problem by making your products or services easy to purchase (UX design), the website easy to navigate, and look professional and attractive (UI design). Here is a great article on the difference between the two. When many new business owners envision good web design they are only picturing the latter of these two design elements, forgetting that it is critical that their website’s products can be easily purchased, that their business message is clear online, that their product’s pricing structures are easy to locate and that their merchant system is secure.
This is why when you work with us, if you have an eye for design and you fall in love with a certain color palette, a specific font, or want the buttons to be a certain size and all written in Bradley Hand, we may make alternative suggestions. This is not because we do not value your design idea. It is because we value your business success. We want your clients and your customers to purchase your products. We want to help solve your problem, which will be reflected in an effective website design.
If there is one take-home message you can remember from reading this post, here it is:
Good design looks good. Great design looks good and sells.